The Desires of you Heart
Blinded by the god of this age
Your heavenly father knows you
Draw near to God
A double portion
A loyal Heart
Delivered into your Hand
The Desires of Your Heart
BLINDED BY THE god OF THIS AGE
Regarding them: the god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers so they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.--2 Corinthians 4:4
When you are blinded, you cannot see things as they really are, even though others around you see them clearly. You cannot experience the full reality of all that is around you. You may feel you are experiencing all that there is to life, yet you may be unaware that you are missing what God desires for you. You may even be in danger because of your blindness and not know it.
Paul warned that the “god of this age” can blind you to the reality of Jesus Christ. Christ's presence can make a significant difference in your life. However, if Satan convinces you to doubt that Christ can do what He promised, he will have blinded you to the reality of what your life is really like and to what it could become. Others may see what your unbelief causes you to miss, but you will be unaware of it. Your life may be steadily moving toward disaster, but you will be oblivious to it.
Christ comes to you as light (John 1:4, 5, 9). He illuminates your sin so that you see its ugliness and destructiveness. He reveals Himself so that you can appreciate the glory of His person and the marvelous riches He brings. His presence lights your path so that you can see impending danger. Don't let the god of this age distort your spiritual vision. Don't be fooled into thinking that everything is as it should be when, in fact, you are missing out on so much that God wants to do in your life. Ask Christ to illuminate your life and let you clearly see your spiritual condition.
Just one thing: live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or am absent, I will hear about you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind, working side by side for the faith of the gospel. . . --Philippians 1:27
Paul never lost his wonder at having been called by God. He understood that the way he lived ought to be worthy of the King who had chosen him. He knew that the mystery of the gospel had been hidden for generations and had only been revealed in his day through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Col. 1:26–27). Paul also understood that until people accept the gospel, they are spiritually dead and therefore without hope (Col. 2:13). As a result of God's plan of salvation, those who trust in Jesus are not only made alive in Christ but are also adopted as the Father's children (Rom. 8:16–17). Paul recognized that though the Gospel sounds like foolishness to the world, it is the power of God that brings eternal life to those who accept it.
Because Paul's life had been radically transformed by the gospel, he was intent on living to honor the gospel that gave him life. It would have been tragic to receive the riches of the gospel and then to live as a spiritual pauper. It would have been disgraceful to be saved from death by the blood of Christ and then show no reverence for that sacrifice. It would have been foolish to accept such love from Christ and then to resent what He asked in return.
The way you live your life ought to be a tribute to the matchless grace that your Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, has bestowed upon you.
Your Heavenly Father Knows You
Don’t be like them, because your Father knows the things you need before you ask Him.--Matthew 6:8
Even before we call on Him, the Father has already begun to provide all that we need (Isa. 65:24). Jesus wanted His disciples to learn how intimately God knew and loved each of them. That is why He told them to pray. He assured them that even before they prayed, God knew all about their situation.
Prayer is not designed for us to inform God of our needs, for He already knows them. Why, then, should we pray? Prayer enables us to experience God more intimately. The more a child experiences the loving provision of a parent, the more convinced he becomes of his parent's unrelenting love. Often a parent will anticipate a child's need before the child recognizes it and be prepared in advance to provide for that need. Our heavenly Father knows exactly what we will face today and next week. He is eager for us to experience Him as He provides for us.
To our surprise, we often discover that God knows far better than we do what is best for us. At times we assume that we know what would benefit us. We can even be foolish enough to assume that we don't require anything of God. Yet God wants us to go to Him in our need (Matt. 7:7). He is ready to show His strength through our weakness. Our heavenly Father knows exactly what is best for us, and He is prepared to provide for every need, if we will but ask (Phil. 4:13).
A Double Portion
After they had crossed over, Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell [me] what I can do for you before I am taken from you.”
So Elisha answered, “Please, let there be a double portion of your spirit on me.”--2 Kings 2:9
There had never been a man like Elijah. Elijah had raised the dead, called down fire from heaven, and revealed God's plans for a devastating drought. The Israelites must have felt certain there would never be another prophet like Elijah, until Elisha came along. Moses was arguably the mightiest leader the Hebrews had ever followed, yet God prepared Joshua to accomplish what not even Moses had achieved. David's reign marked a high point for the nation of Israel, yet it was Solomon who carried out the task that was denied his father, by building the spectacular temple.
We can be tempted to put more trust in the leaders God gives us than in God Himself. History teaches that, as wonderful as these godly people are, God always has another Moses, Elijah, or David. Often the successor will come with a double portion of their predecessors' spirits.
God's purposes do not depend on us. He has limitless ways to accomplish His will. The same God who led Moses could also use Joshua. If no one were willing to serve Him, the Lord would accomplish His work by His own divine power. We are not irreplaceable to the Lord. He will achieve His purposes. The question is this: Will we be a part of God's activity, or will He find someone else? We deceive ourselves if we think we are indispensable to God. Service to the Lord is an honor God bestows on us, not a favor we do for God.
If you are mourning the loss of one of your leaders, do not despair. God has another leader, for He will see that His will is carried out. It may even be that He has been preparing you to be that leader.
Draw Near to God
Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners, and purify your hearts, double-minded people!--James 4:8
There may be times when God seems far away. You may feel as if your prayers go unheard. James said there is a simple reason for this and a solution. If you are far from God, it is because your sin has separated you from Him.
God is unchanging. His character stays absolutely holy. His faithfulness remains constant; it is we who change. We allow sin into our lives. We choose our own direction. We spend less and less time with Him in Bible study and prayer. Then one day we realize that we have gradually grown distant from God. The solution, according to James, is straightforward. We are to draw near to God. As we realize our need to be closer to the Father and we begin to return to Him, He meets us even as the father hurried to greet his prodigal son (Luke 15:20).
Drawing near to God requires you to take two actions. First, you must cleanse your hands (Isa. 1:15). You must cleanse your way of living. If you have been actively engaged in sin, you must renounce it. If you have done anything to offend or hurt someone, you must make it right. Second, you are to purify your heart (Ps. 51:10). You must make certain your attitudes, thoughts, and motives are right in God's eyes and are in harmony with God's word. Jesus warned that you cannot serve two masters (Matt. 6:24). It is impossible to love anything else as much as you love God and still please Him.
If God seems distant, do what is necessary to cleanse your hands, purify your heart, and draw near to Him.
A Loyal Heart
“For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to show Himself strong for those whose hearts are completely His. You have been foolish in this matter, for from now on, you will have wars.”--2 Chronicles 16:9
If your heart is loyal to God, you do not have to look for Him, He is already looking for you! God told King Asa that He continuously watches for those who are steadfast in their commitment to Him. When He finds them, He makes His presence powerfully evident to them. King Asa had experienced God's awesome power when he faced a menacing army from Ethiopia (2 Chron. 14:9). God gave Asa victory, despite the overwhelming odds he faced. In spite of this miracle, the next time Asa faced an enemy he failed to trust God. Even though the army Asa faced was smaller than the one God had previously defeated, Asa's faith in God faltered. God encouraged Asa to take courage in knowing that God never rests or sleeps. He is never distracted, but diligently seeks individuals whose hearts are completely committed to Him.
Life's challenges sometimes seem impossible. Do you feel you are too weak to fight the battle? Don't give up! Keep your heart loyal to God, for He constantly watches over you, and He desires to demonstrate His strength in your life. God is willing and just as capable of giving you victory in your current challenge as He was with those in times past. The question is not whether God is looking for His people, but whether His people are seeking Him. Take comfort in God's promise that He watches over you and He wants to give you victory.
Delivered into Your Hand
The Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid of them, for I have handed them over to you. Not one of them will be able to stand against you.”--Joshua 10:8
No greater confidence will ever come to you or to any other Christian than the confidence of knowing you are doing God's will. God will not commission you to do anything without ensuring your success. God assured Joshua that there was no reason to fear as he prepared to battle the Canaanites. God would allow the Israelites to fight the battle, but the outcome was settled before they ever picked up their weapons. What confidence this gave them as they fought! Even though their enemies fought relentlessly, Joshua's army was certain of eventual victory.
God does not promise you victory in every task you devise, but He does promise that you will be successful whenever you follow His will (Deut. 28:7, 25).
Does it appear that people are keeping you from obeying God's will? Rest assured that God will not allow anyone or anything to prevent His children from accomplishing His purposes.
Be careful to evaluate success in the way that God does. Perhaps He is working to produce His peace in your heart as you face troubling times. Perhaps He is working to develop a forgiving spirit in you when others mistreat you. Perhaps He is working to eliminate a particular sin in your life. If you accept the world's understanding of victory, you may feel defeated. If you look to see what God is accomplishing through your situation, you will find that He is succeeding. When you face opposition but know you are doing what God has asked, have confidence that He will accomplish everything that He desires.